Schemes and Scams at Casinos
Scams to rip-off the casinos span the gamut from quickly-in and quickly-out to highly complex and well-orchestrated plans that go press forward for months, even years at a time. Of course the casinos are waiting and watching from that eye in the sky waiting to pounce upon anyone who is caught cheating or stealing from the house. A plethora of previous ruses that have been executed around the globe speak to a reality that things are not always what they seem. Many ‘masterminds’ have walked away from gambling arenas and casinos with quite the loot, never to be seen or heard from again. It seems that there are no blackjack, roulette or slots gaming hubs exempt from victimization – from Las Vegas to Atlantic City and anywhere in-between – tales of clever heists are abundant. Let’s face it, the gaming industry makes a great mark for a scheme that entails acquiring large amounts of cash in short order! These notorious cities are brimming with money to be earned, won, or stolen – and there will always be someone willing to ‘try their luck’ on the latter! The casinos are, after all, all about the luck….right!?
Crafty Scams that Beat the House
It doesn’t always happen ‘in’ the casino, either! Take for example the case of Shouman Chai, China native that brazenly went where no woman to our knowledge has ever gone before. Chai randomly victimized patrons at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem and various other casinos by lurking at the ATM machines for her marks. At the Sands alone Chai was able to carry out her deviant plan and steal money from at least twelve people. According to Robert Caprari, Pennsylvania State Police Sgt., he has spotted Chai in Atlantic City New Jersey prior to her mid-June arrival at the Sands in Bethlehem. Chai is living in the U.S. illegally and was banned from all casinos in New Jersey recently for her role in the ATM Scam. Chai apparently offered a helping-hand like any ‘good Samaritan’ would to people using their ATM cards at the casino. After they completed their transaction, she was able to push the card back into the machine in time to use their account to make a second transaction to keep for her own use.
Evidently the 56 year old Chai is alleged to have a ‘long history of preying on casino patrons’, said Northhampton County District Attorney John Morganelli. Chai was recently arrested for her attempt to get-over on the customers and get away scot-free and will face trial for her thefts. Elsewhere in casino news: (and another prime example that casinos are breeding grounds for con-artists) a different swindle was achieved by former Brooklyn resident Seyit Ibrahim Yel. Pay close attention to the names because Mr. Yel carried out his plot using several names – fake identities that opened loopholes for him in the justice system and ultimately gave him the success, and money, that he intended to take from the casinos in several countries. Yel was caught in Nassau County, Nevada over a year ago for his involvement in a theft of $77,000 worth of gasoline for his buddy’s gas station.
He was released by Nassau County on $3,500 bond following his arrest when they could not put a bond hold on him for the casino scams in Vegas and Atlantic City in which he ‘borrowed’ money on markers from numerous casinos, making off with a total amount close to a half of a million dollars! He wrote the casinos a few ‘bad checks’ that bounced right back to the bank on insufficient funds. He pulled out no stops for the casino scam, however, as the Turkey native completed all of his casino ‘business’ going by the name ‘Mustafa Seda’. The 24 year-old was able to bond-out in Nassau County because the man with warrants for arrest on the casino scam was Seyit Yel. Sources say that Yel does not work alone and consider it ‘organized’ crime. They believe that Yel gives a minimum of half of the money that the casinos ‘front’ him to his associates in crime. Yel is MIA however, as he promptly posted that $3,500 bail, a mere ‘drop in the bucket’ compared to the half of a millions he left with, and hopped on a plane to Abu Dhabi. The whole scheme is quite crafty as this Turkey native has an ability to move about from country to country using several different names in order to escape any legal consequences for his actions. These are prime examples of the scams that casino security personnel and task force agents are being assigned to prevent or limit.
Law Enforcement’s Mission – To Outsmart the Scam Artists
In the state of Ohio law enforcement officials and state gaming investigators team-up to ‘police’ the growing industry. The Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland, for example, just trained security personnel and state investigators how to cheat! Thirteen agents were designated to security on a full-time basis to alleviate the potential ruses and catch the culprits if any scams are underway. As they say, all of their "i’s" will be dotted and their "t’s" all crossed as the new agents receive intense and quite thorough training for the task ahead. The Ohio gaming commission’s executive director Matt Schuler explained that the training and contingents will be much the same for the new casinos that are to open later in Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus. The first unit of agents was recruited (or ‘borrowed’) from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations but the majority of them had no prior ‘casino’ specific training.
Plans for a minimum of three armed agents will be on duty, undercover, and secretly armed at all times and for all shifts. The new Ohio casinos will be rich with opportunity for scam artists. The majority of security personnel and agents are new to the ‘casino’ industry. Many of the dealers are new as well and will receive specialized training in ‘how to spot cheaters’. The security unit has been educated in cheating and a variety of schemes that they may encounter. The ‘How to Cheat’ training makes absolute sense, since the adage goes; “It takes one to know one”, security personnel should be ready to spot the swindlers before they get away. The four story Horseshoe casino is equipped with no less than 1,000 surveillance cameras that will observe the movements of gamblers, visitors, and employees, as well. The security systems are well-planned and thorough but odds are that will not stop organized teams, daredevils, and sophisticated scammers from coming to Ohio to give it a shot!